The Black Dahlia Murder – Deflorate

Through the revolving door of band members, one can never accuse Michigan’s THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER of not having a strong work ethic going from studio to constant touring then repeating the process. Their past 2 releases continued to raise the bar as the leap to MIASMA then the large jump to NOCTURNAL firmly established the quintet in the extreme/death metal world as one of the top contenders. As we head into the last part of 2009, TBDM unleash DEFLORATE which again will show that there is no stopping and absolutely no rest for the wicked.

“Black Valor” opens the album and TREVOR STRNAD has never sounded so confident and mature, yet so hungry with a large appetite in his vocal delivery. The contribution of recent addition to the lead guitar slot, RYAN KNIGHT (ex-ARSIS) is immediately felt not only in the solo, but in some of the precision picking that is displayed. This also follows into “Necropolis” as some of the melody that is demonstrated picks up where Nocturnal left off as their effective use of tempo changes easily guides them our of the normal brutality you experience in this genre. Drummer SHANNON LUCAS does not go over the top yet keeps the listener interested with accents used on his China Cymbals as well as using the Ride to maintain certain grooves that are developed. “A Selection Unnatural” is one of the more ‘extreme’ tracks at all levels that doesn’t stop until the 1:05 mark which opens the tempo for more amazing solo work from Ryan. “Denounced, Disgraced” adds a bit more to the mix with dynamics and interesting structure thanks to Shannon’s use of his toms during the verses which segues into “Christ Deformed” with a hi-hat / drum fill intro where melodies in the guitar lines allow Trevor to approach his vocals slightl different and again take TBDM into some newer territory musically.

“Death Panorama,” the shortest track on the album coming in under two minutes is perfect in length as they deliver their point within that given timeframe and if it weren’t for the 15 seconds of feedback at the end of the song it would be even shorter. “Throne Of Luncay” shows that TBDM is capable of some ‘groove’ elements and straight forward songwriting and “Eyes Of Thousand” is more of a Thrashy song with double bass that is remiscent of early era SLAYER. My favorite track on Deflorate is easily “That Which Erodes The Most Tender” as the pace, drumming, vocal delivery, and bouncing guitar melodies create a landscape that shows the band is capable of branching out yet not losing the focus of what truly defines them as an extreme metal band. Album closer, “I Will Return” comes in over five minutes in length but does not seem that long as there is a slight intro and follows some of the same direction that the prior song established.

Fresh off a stint on the Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival this summer, THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER have returned with another excellent album and I truly hope that we can maintain the current lineup as the new members have helped refine the sound, direction, and potency that TBDM truly contain that will give them the longevity they need and deserve!

Rating: 9/10
Label: Metal Blade


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